When Ferruccio Lamborghini decided to try his hand at building a sports car, his company had essentially zero experience in automobile production. Earlier in his life, Ferruccio had constructed a couple of Fiat-based specials, so his desire to build a sports car was not new, but his career focus was primarily on tractors, and he built a considerable fortune as his business expanded.
Lamborghini’s business prowess translated into rapid financial success through the 1950s, and Ferruccio developed a refined taste for fast cars. He owned numerous Maseratis, Jaguars, a Mercedes 300SL, and several Ferraris. His alleged dissatisfaction with Ferrari’s quality and aloof customer service spurred him to produce a Gran Turismo under his own name, aiming to build a sporting car that was more luxurious and refined than any of Ferrari’s offerings. By the early 1960s, the Bolognese firm was well-respected for its robust farm tractors and agricultural equipment, so Ferruccio’s bold desire to best Ferrari was sure to have raised a few eyebrows. What he may have lacked in car building experience was more than made up for in his company’s manufacturing capacity, his eye for engineering talent, and pure Italian moxie.
Ferruccio Lamborghini made good on his promise, debuting the radically-shaped 350 GTV at the 1963 Turin Motor Show. The GTV received mixed reviews from the motoring press, so Lamborghini returned the following year with the heavily-revised 350 GT. Boasting a tubular space frame chassis, fully-independent suspension, and a glorious 3.5-liter V12 engine designed by the brilliant Giotto Bizzarrini (the father of the 250 GTO), this iteration was much better received. The initial styling was done by Franco Scaglione, which was toned down and refined by Carrozzeria Touring for the production model. Engineering and development were handled by a team of gifted young engineers, including Gian Paolo Dallara, Paolo Stanzani, and test engineer Bob Wallace. After approximately 120 examples, Lamborghini introduced the 4-liter 400 GT, adding more power and practicality with 2+2 seating.
To many enthusiasts, Lamborghini succeeded in building a better Ferrari. The striking 400GT 2+2 is superbly refined, with excellent ride quality, a hewn-from-solid feel, and that masterpiece of a V12 engine up front. Production totaled 247 examples before the evolutionary Islero replaced it in 1968.
Chassis number 0745 is a 1966 example, understood to be the 70th 400 GT 2+2 produced. It was initially delivered to a customer in England, finished in Azzurro paintwork, and came to the United States in 1974 via the Strange family of Garrison, New York. In 1996, after 22 years of ownership, the Stranges sold 0745 to Ultimate Motor Works of Longwood, Florida, one of the oldest Lamborghini dealers in the United States, now known as Lamborghini of Orlando. In addition to being a respected dealer, they also ran a highly regarded restoration shop, and after several years of keeping the 400 GT 2+2 in their private collection, they embarked on a bare-metal restoration, completed in 2009.
Following the restoration, 0745 found a new owner, who commissioned High Mountain Classics of Greely, Colorado, to prepare and mechanically sort the car for rallies and events. When the engine was opened up for service, it was found to have internal corrosion, necessitating a replacement crankcase. A New Old Stock block was sourced, and the engine was rebuilt with new pistons, bearings, bearing caps, bushings, seals, timing gear, and more. A new clutch, brake booster, and other service items were tended to at the same time. The original block was welded, set aside, and included in the sale. Photos and receipts document the rebuild process, completed between 2016 and 2017. In the care of the most recent owner, 0745 has been meticulously maintained and is offered in superb running order, ideally suited to rallies, tours, and traversing your favorite stretches of tarmac.
Finished in the classic combination of red over beige leather upholstery, 0745’s body is in superb condition, with crisply defined lines, straight panels, and restored brightwork. It rides on proper Borrani wire wheels with period-correct Pirelli Cinturato H8 tires, ensuring an authentic aesthetic and handling characteristics. The businesslike cabin features beige leather on the seats and door cards, accented by a black dash and carpets. The soft trim is excellent throughout, and details like controls, switches, and instruments are in fine order.
In current ownership, 0745 has enjoyed meticulous care, and it exemplifies why many feel the 400 GT 2+2 is one of the best driver’s cars to emerge from Italy in the mid-60s. Refined, powerful, and overflowing with character, this superb 400 GT is the ideal steed for the world’s most prestigious historic rallies.
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